On the Phone: Punctuation for a Parent’s Decline

Illustration by Elizabeth Sayles for AJN. All rights reserved.

Illustration by Elizabeth Sayles for AJN. All rights reserved.

“It’s ridiculous. I’m deciding the rest of my mother’s life based on research I did on the Internet,” I tell him.

“You’re really good at that. Research, I mean,” he says, hope in his voice.

I want to scream that I don’t think an undergraduate degree in biology and a long relationship with Google qualify me as a medical professional.

Many of us don’t use the phone as often as we used to, but there are times of strangeness and loss when it may still assume the central role it played in an earlier era. The passage above is from “On the Phone,” the August Reflections essay, which finds a novel way to talk about the strains and strangeness of finding oneself a family caregiver—the gradual withdrawal of a once vibrant parent (or spouse or sibling) from the home that had once seemed to be defined by their presence, the isolation, the learning curve when faced with medical emergencies and the need to make crucial decisions that can’t wait, the reliance on the advice and interventions of nurses and physicians.

All Reflections essays are free and can be read in just a few minutes. This month’s is about an experience, family caregiving, that more and more of us are having in one form or another, whether we find a way to tell about it or not.—Jacob Molyneux, AJN senior editor

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2016-11-21T13:04:04+00:00 August 15th, 2014|narratives, Nursing, Patients|1 Comment

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About the Author:

Senior editor/social media strategy, American Journal of Nursing, and editor of AJN Off the Charts.

One Comment

  1. gregmercer601 August 15, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Reblogged this on Big Red Carpet Nursing and commented:
    It’s a process I doubt anyone feels prepared for: the slow decline and loss of a loved one.

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